What is STEM?
STEMSussex is an organization that partners with businesses and schools to enthuse the scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians of the future. The four subjects: science, technology, engineering and maths are integrated and applied to real-life projects, giving students a full experience. STEM liaises with schools, through the help of ambassadors, who run a variety of events for young people.
Eurotherm started working with STEMSussex around five years ago after noticing a significant decrease in local applicants for graduate engineering roles. Our excellent relationship with the organisation is due to our 15 ambassadors, who regularly partake in science fairs, school projects and career events, encouraging young people to pursue a career in the industry.
We are a main sponsor of Brighton Science Festival, where we run programming workshops at the ‘Bright Sparks’ event for around 60 lucky children, and spread the word about what we do at Eurotherm. Similarly, Eurotherm runs events at local schools, including a recent cipher programming workshop at Portslade Aldridge Community Academy - giving pupils the opportunity to learn about encrypting and decrypting messages using relevant programmes.
The next Brighton Science Festival will take place in February 2018, however Eurotherm still runs smaller activities, such as an after school Code Club at Hawthorns Primary School, teaching pupils all about coding. We also attend career evenings at local institutions such as Durrington High School, to target GCSE students and encourage them to consider engineering roles.
Eurotherm offers work experience and summer internships to pupils doing their GCSE’s and upwards. Work experience students get to design and build their own circuit board, plus learn about programming and mechanical design from our engineers. They also have the opportunity to talk to our engineers that have recently finished university, to learn about routes they can take to enter the world of engineering.
The Big Bang Fair
Our local Big Bang Fair was held last month in Ardingly, which included a science project competition celebrating young people’s achievements in science and engineering. Eurotherm sponsored a cash prize for the project with ‘Best Commercial Potential’. This activity provides pupils with project management experience and allows them to increase a wide range of real world STEM related skills. Schools from all over the South East competed, but this year an all-girls team from Guildford County School claimed the title with their project on “Vitamins and minerals from recycled food”. They created tablets targeted towards those with low-vitamin diets in less-developed countries, as a result of malnutrition and poverty, who cannot grow crops due to severe drought and famine.
The girls created a calcium tablet made from egg shells, and a vitamin C tablet made from orange peel. The high volumes of these ingredients used in schools and hospitals makes it a great source if the tablets were to be produced on a large scale, as otherwise they would be food waste! Sustainability is a key feature of the tablets, which were made using a small tablet press. Sustainable transportation would be used to deliver the tablets to the areas in need, and the tablets themselves would be stored in recycled sterilized jam jars as they are easily and cheaply available.
The winning team of five girls, will now progress to the national finals which will be held in March next year. They are intending to use their prize money to develop science further at their school, and to encourage more girls to get involved with STEM!